Minn. House and Senate will question Delta exec

Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airlines plane.
MPR file photo

Delta Airlines' President and CFO Ed Bastian is scheduled to appear at the State Capitol this morning to field questions about his company's planned acquisition of Northwest.

House commerce committee chair Joe Atkins had complained that Delta was ignoring his requests to send an executive to answer questions about the proposed merger.

Atkins claims his threats to issue subpoenas changed Delta's stance on testifying. The Inver Grove Heights DFLer says a number of questions have not been addressed. "What's the impact going to be on the employment, what's the impact going to be on the hub, the headquarters, Minnesota's economy, and thus far we have not been able to get answers because Northwest keeps deferring to the folks at Delta," said Atkins.

Northwest Airlines' general counsel told lawmakers last week that Delta would prefer to renegotiate agreements Northwest made with the state, rather than paying off those contracts at a cost of more than $200 million.

The agreement committed the carrier to keeping its hub and headquarters in Minnesota, in exchange for a state loan and gate fee reductions at Twin Cities airport.

Bastian will appear before the House at 9 a.m. and the Senate at 10 a.m.

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